As of Monday, it’s been a month since the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
And in many ways, it still feels like a dream.
When it’s been 50 years since your team has won a championship, it takes some time to adjust your thinking to a new reality — one in which your team’s proud tradition is no longer tarnished by such a long championship drought. There are still some mornings where I wake up and have to remind myself that it really did happen.
But every new package that arrives from the NFL Fan Shop — where my wife Terri has apparently become well-known — helps me remember.
That Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirt with the Chiefs logo — exactly the same one that head coach Andy Reid wore on Super Bowl Opening Night — felt really good when I wore it on Friday night. I’m quite certain that in my entire life, I’ve never spent over $100 on a shirt of any kind. But when I opened the package, I didn’t care one whit about what it cost.
For a cheapskate like me, that’s truly astonishing.
I am, however, still struggling a little with the cool Chiefs keyboard I’m using to write this. I’m not a touch typist — and these old eyes have a little trouble making out the letters as I type — but every time I look down, I am reminded of what happened just a month ago.
And let’s be honest: getting accustomed to a hard-to-read keyboard is definitely preferable to being a month into an offseason that ended in a bitter defeat.
That’s the most interesting of many things I’ve noticed in the post-LIV world: how this offseason feels.
Since the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV in 1970, the team had made the playoffs 17 times. In the 29 seasons before — those within the memory of the current generation of fans — there had been 15 postseason appearances. That’s a record of which any team’s fans should be proud; most NFL fans can only dream of such sustained success.
But because every one of those seasons ended in a defeat — often an inexplicable one — Chiefs fans never felt they could revel in them. Multiple generations of fans have never known what it was like to have a happy offseason.
We’re now learning that it’s entirely different.
Before now, every offseason move the team made was fraught with concern. We worried about every single detail. The salary cap... whether the team was getting enough value from the contracts they signed and the trades they made... which assistant coaches were responsible for the previous season’s debacle.
Now, however, things have changed.
The Chiefs don’t have a lot of salary cap space. The team has many free agents who may not be back in 2020 — including stars like Chris Jones — and relatively few draft assets to use in April.
And yet... we don’t seem to be particularly worried about it. We remain interested in how the Chiefs will navigate the offseason. But we also seem to understand the Chiefs will find a way to make it all work — simply because we just watched them conclusively demonstrate that they can.
Honestly, this is probably the attitude we should have had all along. But in hindsight, it’s understandable that we didn’t. That’s what 17 playoff exits over five decades will do to you. That might be something to remember if the team isn’t able to repeat as Super Bowl champions in 2020.
Just the same, the last month has been amazing. And the best part is that in the coming years, we can expect that when March arrives, we might be finishing another one just like it — perhaps even if the Chiefs aren’t getting measured for new Super Bowl rings.